KNOW YOUR PUNK

History is written by the victors, which is why the story of punk these days seems to be more about perky, lightweight mainstream pap-punk groups like Blink-182 and Green Day instead of grimier, more authentic and stubbornly obscure underground bands like the Alley Cats and Rhino 39. There were precious few lipstick traces left behind by most of the early SoCal punks and post-punks, and yet the truth is out there for those who are willing to dig deep enough. Director Dave Travis' new film, A History Lesson, Part 1 (named for the classic Minutemen song), documents an exciting time in the local scene when insurrectionists like the Minutemen were restlessly expanding the definition of what punk music sounded like. Long before the widespread use of video cameras, Travis was filming iconic early-'80s musicians with a bulky old camera that was given to him by his television-industry dad. Luckily, the Westside native (and brother of caba-punk chanteuse Abby Travis) didn't mind slogging it out in the pit while capturing precious footage of crucial groups like Arizona thrash-country space cadets the Meat Puppets. Although the sound quality is often raw, A History Lesson has some great moments, including rare glimpses of glitter-pop brats Redd Kross (during the brief period when the Bangles' Vicki Peterson and her brother Dave Peterson were in the band) and Twisted Roots, whose chirpily sarcastic singer, Maggie Ehrig, was a welcome antidote to the era's increasingly conformist, macho hardcore thuggery. Tonight, Travis performs with his own band, the aptly named veteran noisemakers Carnage Asada, and launches an October residency with weekly screenings of the film. Plus, sets by former Minuteman Mike Watt and Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler's duo, Dos, and dexterous desert jammers Fatso Jetson.
Tue., Oct. 5, 8 & 11:59 p.m., 2010


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